Five Things We Learned on the Taste Temescal Tour
Temescal has achieved hot status as a destination for culinary delights: Pizzaiolo, Doña Tomás, and relative newcomers like Scream Sorbet, soon-to-open Juhu Beach Club, and kickstarter-funded Doughnut Dolly. Edible Excursions recently launched a three-plus-hour culinary tour ($75) that packs tastings and stories from a dozen Oakland businesses. (Full disclosure: I have worked as a paid tour guide for Edible, and know the tours offer a belly-full of goods with insights from the staff and business owners.) Here are five of the most fun things I learned about on a recent tour:
Mary Ladd Doughnuts with "naughty cream" at Doughnut Dolly
5. Naughty cream is delicious.
"Naughty cream" is a sweet and indulgent fresh vanilla pastry cream filling for a light and delectable doughnut from Doughnut Dolly proprietress Hannah Hoffman. Her mom crafted pastries for Chez Panisse from 1971 to 1987 and the late pastry chef Heather Ho created the naughty cream recipe and name. Originally, Doughnut Dollies were the nickname for lady volunteers who supplied caffeine and sweet donuts to "Dough Boy" soldiers during World Wars I and II. Sweet, eh?
4. CRO Café's cold-brewed Sightglass coffee hits the spot.
Luigi Oldani's newly opened patio space in the teensy Temescal alley for CRO Café is a chillaxing spot for delectable Sightglass coffee that is cold-brewed and can be served over ice. The shop uses a vintage lever machine powered by propane, and Oldani recommends the cold brew to be served with cream and simple syrup, for a fresh flavor that is "kind of like ice cream." It tasted killer, and Oldani and his crew are easy on the eyes -- always a bonus for those bright early mornings.
3. Get the salty lassi at the Juhu Beach Club.
Chef Preeti Mistry has a sun filled and appealing space at her Juhu Beach Club restaurant, which is gearing up to serve Gujarati-style samosa, curries, and pressed sandwiches on March 1. Look up and you can check out the chef's bike, tricked out with tiffins, which are the three-compartment tins that will be used to serve kid meals at the Club. Her custom "Sassy Lassi" gives a dash of salt, and the cooling drink lacks the cloying sweetness of lesser lassis.
2. Shahan ful from Alem's Coffee House is a breakfast gem.
Our tour started with bites of breakfast. Shahan ful is a traditional dish, and is also called ful, sporting influences from the Ethiopian and Eritrean region. There are many restaurants in this area that serve ful, which is a reflection of the local population. Shahan ful is traditionally served for breakfast and is popular for Ramadan and Lent seasons. The hearty and kicky dish combines slow-cooked fava beans, tomatoes, spicy peppers, chopped green onions, feta, olive oil, lemon juice, berbere, and cumin. It is filling, refreshing, and deftly able to chase away any blues or hangover.
1. Beauty's Bagel Shop is appetizing.
Mary Ladd Noshing at Beauty's Bagels.
Blake Joffe and Amy Remsen's have an all-in-one set up: Their Beauty's Bagel Shop is set up to be a coffeeshop, bagel shop and appetizing store/shop all-in-one. Joffe's hand made Montreal-style organic and definitely small batch bagels are finished in a wood fire oven after getting rolled by hand and a treatment in boiling honey water. Goyim such as this writer will likely find it interesting to know that an appetizing store is a mainly East Coast phenom (gazing at you, Russ & Daughters!). The shop sells Jewish breakfast and lunch foods that typically include smoked and cured fish and cream cheese spreads. Seeing the oven here and taking in the smells and tastes at Beauty's made me ready to dig in.